AAHAM eNewswatch
March 30, 2011

The ACO model: A 3-year financial loss?
The New England Journal of Medicine
The accountable care organization model is rather controversial among healthcare experts. Its proponents tout the potential savings and coordinated care that could be achieved through this model. Others, however, point out that the model is not without risks. While experts are trying to clarify such matters, many healthcare executives and physician practices are deciding whether to move forward. Yet, they may be unaware that data suggest most organizations will lose money in the first three years under the ACO model.More

Analysis finds tipping point for patient payments
Health Data Management
An analysis of 43,600 patient accounts at North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System with balances greater than $50 at discharge shows that when a family's spending on healthcare exceeds 3.5 percent of income, a tipping point is reached on the ability to pay.More

ONC issues draft health IT plan through 2015
Modern Healthcare
Dr. David Blumenthal, outgoing head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, delivered a going-away present to his successor in the form of an 81-page draft update to the five-year Federal Health IT Strategic Plan. The plan, mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, shows how the diverse public- and private-sector collaborations to promote the use of health IT "fit together," according to Blumenthal, who also said that adoption and meaningful use of electronic health record systems remains the "unifying focal point of our strategy."More

Healthcare administration simplification
As you know, there is lots of dialogue on Capitol Hill right now about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and efforts by House Republicans to repeal this law. Whatever happens with the law, we need to reinforce with our legislators to keep administrative simplification (Section 1104) to help reduce costs and increase efficiency in healthcare operations. Please click here to ACT NOW and send an email to your congressmen — to retain administrative simplification in whatever healthcare reform legislation is enacted.More

HIPAA fines prompt action by healthcare firms on data storage
With the recent fines imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services for violations of the HIPAA privacy rules, firms are starting to feel the pain and take steps to archive and secure patient data.More

More adults going without medical care because of costs
American Medical News
More working-age Americans are going without health insurance and not seeking physician care for injuries or illness because they can't afford it, according to two new studies. A report by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund found that the portion of patients delaying medical treatment in the last year is trending upward. Findings from the group's biennial health insurance survey in 2010 show that an increasing percentage of working-age adults skipped office visits, medical tests and prescriptions because of costs.More

AAHAM Spring 2011 webinar schedule is now available
April 20, 1:30-3:30 p.m. EDT - Join AAHAM and Tanja Twist, Senior Director of Operations at Adreima, as we present this informative and timely webinar, "Understanding and Surviving the MIC Audits." Payment must be received on or before April 8. You will receive your confirmation and handouts via email by April 16. You may download the full description and printable registration form here.

May 11, 1:30-3:30 p.m. EDT - Join AAHAM and Richard (Dick) Finnegan, CEO of The Retention Institute, as we present this lively webinar, "The Recession is Over and I Quit." Payment must be received on or before April 29. You will receive your confirmation and handouts via email by May 6. You may download the full description and printable registration form here.

June 1, 1:30-3:30 p.m. EDT - Join AAHAM and April Langford, Vice President, Revenue Cycle at University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (UPMC) as we present this informative and timely webinar, "Automating Patient Access Workflow; A Case Study." Payment must be received on or before May 18. You will receive your confirmation and handouts via email by May 27. You may download the full description and printable registration form here.

Everyone earns 3 CEU's for attending. Online Member Registration is available at www.aaham.org. More

Texas primary care group uses IBM software to cut hospital readmissions
Southeast Texas Medical Associates (SETMA), a primary care group based in Beaumont, Texas, is using IBM business analytics software to gain greater insight into hospital readmissions. The software helps the 29-doctor group identify the causes of readmissions and design interventions to prevent patients from being readmitted. In the first six months of this project, SETMA has been able to cut the number of its readmissions by 22 percent.More

MedPAC urges co-pays for home healthcare
American Medical News
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has recommended more beneficiary cost-sharing for home health to address concerns about rises in utilization and spending in that sector of the Medicare program. MedPAC's annual March report to Congress suggests establishing a $150 co-pay per episode of home healthcare that is not preceded by hospitalization or a post-acute facility stay. Enrollees currently do not have a co-pay for these services. Recommendations by MedPAC are nonbinding, but Congress considers the panel's advice when enacting Medicare legislation.More

Digital medical records provide critical backup
The wide-scale destruction caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan has highlighted the importance of electronic health records, with industry watchers urging for countries to digitize healthcare data.More

Study finds raising Medicare age would shift costs
Kaiser Health News
Raising Medicare's eligibility age by two years would save the federal government $7.6 billion, but those costs — and more — would shift to others, according to a new report. The analysis, by the Kaiser Family Foundation, says that increases in total costs for people 65 and 66 years old, employers and the state governments would outpace the federal savings in 2014.More